I’m always trying to think of new and interesting things to cook for the littlest member of the household. Fun, tasty (but easy!) recipes that are healthy and expose her to new foods. I also love being able to cook one meal for the whole family as often as I can and not have to do “grown-up” food and “baby” food. One type of food I’ve had a historically hard time getting her to eat is, well, anything green. Peas and green beans both met with disdain (and some…gagging…) and anything leafy seems to give her texture issues. This recipe gets around the problem by using frozen chopped spinach – healthy and spinachy still, but chopped finely enough that even my greens-picky babe will tolerate, nay, like it! (If you’re cooking for adults, or not-so-picky children, feel free to use regular old fresh spinach.) Add some rice and a delicious cheesy coating and you’ve got a meal that’s hard not to love, no matter how old you are.
baby-friendly spinach risotto
- 5 cups no-salt chicken or veggie broth
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups risotto rice
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb. chopped frozen spinach, thawed
- fresh or dried basil, to taste (optional)
- salt and/or pepper, to taste, for the adults
Heat the broth in a small pan and keep warm until needed.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy pot. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft. Add the rice and stir to coat with butter. After a minute or two, add a ladleful of broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the broth has been absorbed. Continue adding hot broth a little at a time, stirring constantly and allowing it to absorb before adding more.
After 20-30 minutes, the rice should be creamy and al dente. If making for adults, you can stop at this point. I continued cooking the rice a little longer to make it easier on little baby mouths.
Add thawed spinach and stir to combine. Cook until heated through, then remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and basil, if desired. Do not salt baby’s food but feel free to salt to taste for adults. I didn’t find that it needed any, but your tastes may vary!